Arthur Laffer, who poisoned Republican brains with the fairy tale that tax cuts pay for themselves, has found a new and exciting way to be wrong. As he once discarded the universally-held belief that taxes bring revenue to the government, he is now disposing of the idea that time is linear. His case study is the way Obama caused an economic collapse that started long before he took office. His dire warning is that electing a Democrat in 2020 will have the same cataclysmic result.
Most economists chalk the Great Recession up to the short-sighted irresponsibility of the mortgage industry and the subsequent market collapse that dented people’s personal wealth by more than $20 trillion. Laffer, on the other hand, believes the cause to be a reaction to the impending election of Barack Obama. Which is crazy for a couple of reasons, one of which is that the economy started to tank 16 months before Obama took office, when the widely disregarded primary candidate was polling at 25%. That apparent one-in-four chance that the black guy with the funny name might get elected was enough to cause normally prudent and self-interested investors to sell assets at enormous loss in what was, according to Laffer, an otherwise healthy economy.
This is the most influential conservative economist of our time and he’s as detached from reality as someone claiming to have been abducted by aliens. He is respected and his disproven theories continue to be the basis of Republican policy. They are directly responsible for us running the biggest deficit in history while we’re enjoying a pretty good economy.
In a just world he’d be ranting on a street corner, counting down the days until the world comes to an end. Instead, there he is on TV, the grand old man of modern conservative economics, crazy as a loon.